February 25, 2013 (ANTIOCH, Ill.) (WLS) -- Four people are recovering after apparently being overcome by carbon monoxide fumes in far north suburban Antioch.
That's how the story begins and unfortunately is seems all too familiar. Just a month ago we saw this:
January 28, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A family was in mourning Monday after an apparent carbon monoxide leak in a West Rogers Park building killed two women and sickened seven people.
What do these two stories have in common, besides both being in the Chicago area within a month of each other? The cause of the CO poisoning
The fire department says the source of the carbon monoxide poisoning came from a boiler.
"What we find out is that carbon dioxide was leaking through the boiler and that caused the problem," Ahmed said.
So what can we learn from these stories? I think the first thing to note is that Carbon Monoxide poisoning is very real and life threatening. With symptops that mimic the flu, you might not even realize you're being poisoned by something in your home.
In at least one of these stories it is specifically noted that the home did not have a Carbon Monoxide detector, which is the law in Illinois and should be something found in every home. For less than $50 you can at least give yourself an alert when levels are elevated. The level in the Antioch home was 600 parts per million. CO becomes dangerous starting at 35 PPM and can be fatal at 100 PPM.
What else can we do to prevent these kinds of tragedies? Get your boiler or furnace tuned up by a professional technician every year. This will not only make sure everything is in good operating order to greatly reduce the chance of CO poisoning, but they also help improve efficiency, and reduce breakdowns in the heating equipment we depend on through the winter.
Part of our Precision Furnace Tune-up is a Heat exchanger safety inspection. The heat exchanger is the part of your furnace or boiler that is responsible for keeping the combustion products (including Carbon Monoxide) seperated from the air in your home. If that part of your furnace becomes compromised by a hole or a crack, you could find yourself in a situation not unlike the folks in the stories listed above. Making sure your furance is safe and reliable are our top priorities when we work on your equipment. After all, this could be your lives at stake as we see in the recent news.
I'll leave with this parting thought: if your furnace or boiler was a car driving at 60 miles an hour, it would drive over 50,000 miles per year. You would definitely have your car checked out at least every 50,000 miles - probably get the tires changes and the oil and filters too. Make the investment in your peace of mind and get your equipment checked out today.